Stunning tea farms, a tea museum, and tea cuisine
Pinglin District is a rural district in the southeastern region of New Taipei. Pinglin boasts a beautiful mountainous landscape and connects to Yilan County on the east coast of northern Taiwan.
The tourism focus for Pinglin District is tea production and Taiwan’s tea culture. It has a powerful brand image — known for high-quality tea production. The area’s main type is Wenshan Baozhong, an Oolong. This is Taiwan’s main area for Baozhong, and said Baozhong is, most agree, Taiwan’s best. The local mountain slopes are neatly sculpted with tiered tea farms.
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Pinglin Village percolates with shops selling the local tea leaf and restaurants serving such “tea cuisine” creations as chicken fried in tea oil, tea-flavoured vermicelli, tea eggs, tea jelly, deep-fried tea leaves, and tea-flavoured ice cream. At its heart is narrow Pinglin Old Street, busy with sellers of tea-related products, a place beautified by the stone used to craft many of the traditional Minnan (south Fujian)- style residences, quarried from the bed of the waterway that courses by the village.
The genteel Pinglin Tea Museum sits on a hillside slope opposite the village. Architecturally, it evokes the design of the traditional four-sided courtyard-residence complexes of China’s south Fujian gentry in imperial days. The ancestors of most Taiwanese came from this region, with a large immigration occurring from the mid- 1600s through the early 1800s. Many brought tea plants for transplantation. The museum houses displays on tea production from the Tang Dynasty to the present, and on Taiwan’s cherished tea-drinking culture.
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Key to the quality local produce, which also includes other signature items such as handmade noodles and dried osmanthus flowers, is the pristine waters. The area’s long, serpentine, Feicui Reservoir, inaugurated in 1987, is the source of the majority of Taipei/ New Taipei City treated water. To ensure water quality, rice-paddy farms, pig farms, and other polluting industries in the heavily forested region were shut down. The picturesque location is popularly called the “Thousand Island Lake.”
Take the MRT Green Line to Xindian Station.